*FAULTS EFCC’S ‘SICKENING’ DEFENSE OF ALLEGED ASSAULT:
Leading Civil Rights Advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the alleged physical brutality meted out on a Nollywood Actress Miss Helen Duru who shared bloody pictures of herself as she alleged that she was assaulted by personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Enugu, South East of Nigeria.
The Rights group said if the egregious violations of her (Helen Duru) constitutionally protected human rights (enshrined in chapter 4 of the Constitution) such as right to dignity of her human person, right to privacy and the right to freedom from physical torture are established to be true, then the operatives of the anti-corruption agency that inflicted the wounds must be named, shamed and sanctioned in accordance with the law of the land because Nigeria ought not be operated like a Banana Republic but a Country governed by laws.
HURIWA quoting the actress, via her Instagram handle narrated her ordeal at the hands of the Enugu EFCC operatives just as she alleged that the security operatives tried gaining access to her apartment late at night, and once they did, they took turns in beating her.
HURIWA recalled that in a lengthy post where she tagged the official Instagram handle of the EFCC, she wrote, “Ccs department Enugu Zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did this to me. Exactly 02:53 I heard a noise in my compound, then I gently came out at my balcony to peep what it was, I saw some men but couldn’t identify them as it was still dark. When they saw me, they asked me to come down and open the staircase door which I ignored and hid. They had flashlights.”
HURIWA said Helen Duru continued: “They kept insisting I open the staircase door. I later went inside my house. “A few minutes on, I heard a boy screaming and crying for help. Then my neighbour called me to alert me. I told her I was awake, We both came out from our balconies ( She lives on the first floor) the men started shouting at us that we should go in or open the staircase gate. The next thing we heard they started damaging the staircase door and gained access. I went inside my room and locked the door. Two men climbed into my flat, damaged my two doors, gained access into my house and started beating me. I got a slap first that made me shout, Jesus Christ. She continued, “They spoke in Hausa language but all I could hear was “yamiri” the beating became intense as they beat me in turns, using a rod/stick ( don’t exactly know what that was ) all over my body. One picked up my USB phone cord and descended on me. “They kept speaking in Hausa as they beat me. I could feel the rage in them as I kept screaming Jesus. I feared for my life then I ran into the bathroom and close the door. They try to push it down but the entrance was too slim for both of them. They left my room”.
HURIWA quoted the alleged victim of EFCC’S attack as stating further that : “I thought they came on their own accord, once I noticed they left my room. I tried to come down to inform whoever is their superior what had happened, another one saw me, without saying a word he took his instrument and repeatedly hit my head screaming “get out, go up”, I tried to explain why I had come down but he made sure he repeatedly hit my head until I felt fluid dripping on my face. I wiped my face and saw it was blood. (continue from the pictures). Please me repost this until it gets to the right authorities.”
HURIWA however recalled that the anti-graft agency in its attempt to deny the assault on the young actress delved into the arena of argumentum ad hominem of pouring unnecessary, undeserving and uncharacteristically indecent insults on the person of the alleged victim rather behave like a law enforcement agency that ought to moderate the use of language but the writer of the poorly crafted press statement that is devoid of logic and elegance chose the way of confrontation and abuses which is totally unethical and indecorous.
HURIWA quoted the EFCC thus: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to an online video trending on Instagram, from the handle of a certain “@Iamhelenaduru”, a self- styled actress, purporting, quite mischievously, an assault by operatives of the Commission.
Checks by the Commission, however, flagged Helen Aduru, an upcoming actress, as a mere publicity- seeking player, with a poorly- scripted claim that has fallen flat in the face of unassailable facts available to the Commission
In her script, she was quick to include five names of officers she claimed came from the Cybercrime Section of the Enugu Command of the Commission. Characteristically, EFCC’s officers don’t wear name tags nor move around with bulldozer- shaped equipment to pull down security doors.”
HURIWA further quoted the EFCC in its defense thus: “Aduru claimed, rather strangely, that she was assisted by a little boy, to a Police Station at 3:44 am but met the station shut. It is important to note that Police Stations are not civil service ministries that “close” in the evening. Even more preposterous is the fact that she never went back, at daybreak, to lodge a complaint. More poignantly untenable is the fact that her purported assault of July 21, 2022, which has not been logged nearly two months later at the Police Station is only being brought to public glare on September 2, 2022!! Such a scene could only stand on a typical Nollywood fiction series. Such claims by Aduru, like all other stranger- than- fiction, click-baiting, sympathy-seeking ploys, do not merit a response but for the need to avoid “silence is acquiescence” stance of mischief makers. Deeper checks on the matter only showed that, certain blackmailers could be bandying some known names in the Enugu Zonal Command to settle some scores. The Commission, strictly guided by its Standard Operational Procedure, would not succumb to blackmail or any sleight of hand by any character. The poorly- scripted video would be further analysed for more forensic details and possible legal action to dissuade those who seem to be making an industry of falsely accusing and maligning the Commission. Members of the public are enjoined to ignore Aduru’s claims. EFCC’s officers are not assaulters or terrorists.”
HURIWA lamented that a citizen of Nigeria made a complaint in a very civil manner whereby she even copied the antigraft agency alleging that she was physically brutalised, but the same EFCC rather than approach the matter with civility and decorum chose to further adopt the use of verbal violence and invective against the alleged victim of its reported high handedness and alleged lawlessness displayed and characterised by the alleged use of tribal stereotypes such as calling her ‘Nyamiri’ which is a typical abusive word used by mostly Hausa speaking Nigerians targeted at Igbo speakers. HURIWA said this stereotype is as dangerous as a hate speech which is totally condemnable.
HURIWA stated that the EFCC in its reaction denied that the agency does not go about with equipment to bring down doors but the drafter of that half truths forgot that the entire World not too long ago was entertained openly on television sets as operatives of the EFCC invaded the mansion of the former governor of Imo State Senator Rochas Okorocha in Maitama Abuja and pulled down literally the roof of the house just so the agents can gain entry into the fortified building which they successfully did and got the politician arrested and taken away.So why is the EFCC trying to be clever by half by lying that it doesn’t go about with bulldozer-shaped equipment to bring down doors? So with what did their men penetrate the mansion of Rochas Okorocha in Maitama Abuja not long ago?
HURIWA said although it is not in a position to validate or invalidate the allegations of physical molestation and physical torture by the EFCC operatives as made by the Actress but in the same vein there are a plethora of accusations and reported media stories of several incidents of EFCC’S late night invasions of hotel rooms in their pursuit of alleged advanced fees fraud suspects in which they reportedly invaded hotel rooms occupied by some females who said they slept naked and simply got awoken by the noise of the breaking down of the doors by the EFCC operatives.
The Rights group has therefore faulted the line of defense of the EFCC just as the group wondered why internal investigative mechanisms were not adequately activated to ascertain what actually happened instead of the media department of the antigraft agency to rush to the social media with half truths, innuendos and outright attack of the character of the alleged victim of their invasion and illegal physical torture.
HURIWA has therefore asked the National Assembly’s committees on public petitions to take note of this matter and investigate the operatives of the EFCC over the allegation made by the Actress Helen Duru and especially the injury inflicted on her purportedly by the EFCC operatives and the use of inflammatory language which fall under hate speech such as the use of stereotypes and Igbophobic words on her even whilst allegedly hitting her with all kinds of equipment.
The Rights group said the EFCC can’t be trusted to do any sort of credible investigation given that it has already reached a predetermined conclusion even before the EFCC had any opportunity to carry out ‘forensic analysis’ of the evidence tendered by the victim as even admitted by the EFCC in its hurriedly written but poorly crafted press statement in response to the allegation made by Helen Duru the Enugu based Nollywood Actress.